Here’s a great tip I found from the Loose Wire blog: how to use Google Talk as your contacts database. At first, it’s easy to overlook and take for granted, especially for people like me who mainly use Gmail for communications (I just type in the first few characters of the name on the Gmail “to” field and select from the matches.
What’s great with Google Talk, Jeremy says, is that it’s uncluttered and it’s a very light application (just a few seconds’ download). The search functionality is also very quick. Just type in the first few characters of a name or email address, and you get the results in lightning speed. Of course, the limitation is that it’s currently Windows-only. Users of other OSes can either use multi-IM clients like Pidgin or Adium, or the Web gadget version.
Before you can use Google Talk as your contact manager, be sure to enable the Add people I communicate with often to my friends list option either in Gmail settings or Google Talk settings. This way your correspondents, whether chat or email (even non Gmail users) will be included.
Then these names and email addresses will be added to the list, and you can easily search when you type in the first few characters of a name or email address.
When the desired contacts are already on screen, you can now hover your mouse cursor over that name to display that contact’s details.
With the details in view, move your mouse to the desired contact detail (email, IM address), and click. If you have enabled the Open Gmail when I click on email links option in Google Talk settings, then a browser window or tab with a compose window will be opened. Otherwise, your default email client will be launched with the contact’s email in the “to” field.
This should be easy. But again, perhaps this is more useful for users of Google talk who don’t necessarily use the Gmail web interface.
(some images from Loose Wire blog)